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"unprepossessing" - in still photos - but many have attested to his charisma and ability to convince sceptical generals that they could win. The doc "The Double-headed Eagle" is one of the few which doesn't just show the usual dramatic bits with Hitler foaming at the mouth, but shows extensive extracts from his speeches, showing how he starts out very calm and even funny, and gradually gets the audience going. Speer, who was no fool, went to one of his speeches, noted how he had adapted to - on that occasion - a quite intellectual audience, Speer was a university lecturer and some of his students invited him to join them at the speech. He signed up for the Nazi party the next day.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Aug 26th, 2009 at 11:15:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...where one must note that Speer coloured his reminiscences, too, to make himself appear an all-naive intellectual drawn in by the devilish charm of Hitler, rather than a spineless man with ambition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Aug 26th, 2009 at 02:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He wasn't exactly the only one who found Hitler persuasive, and many of these were not particularly ambitious. It's too easy to suggest that Hitler was obviously a fool/bad guy and that nobody could have sincerely supported him, even at the beginning.

For an intelligent study of how Hitler drew on existing elements in German culture, see "Hitler, the fuhrer and the people":

"Professor Stern has done a pioneering study of the rhetoric of Nazism, a rhetoric that coupled words and action. He examines the speeches, writings, and conversations of Hitler and places them in the context of traditional beliefs of the society into which Hitler, the "ideal outsider," made his way."

http://www.amazon.com/Hitler-F%C3%83%C2%BChrer-J-P-Stern/dp/0520029526

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 06:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's too easy to suggest that Hitler was obviously a fool/bad guy and that nobody could have sincerely supported him,

Stop your horses, no one was suggesting that. I talked about Speer, about whom you apparently haven't read enough.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Aug 29th, 2009 at 03:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you should have indicated what I ought to read - in addition to your opinions. I have read his autobiography, though a long time ago. As I recollect it,  he doesn't present Hitler as mesmeric, but just as very convincing that evening. In fact he condemns himself, not for being easily hypnotised by Hitler, but for having been irresponsible. He says that, especially as  a university lecturer, he ought to have read up on the Nazis, read Hitler's Mein Kampf critically, before taking such a decision.

Whatever his motives I don't find it implausible that he was genuinely impressed by Hitler - my basic point - he was not alone in this. Let's take another university lecturer, the eminent British historian, Arnold Toynbee, you can't accuse him of careerist motives in relation to Hitler, nor was he an uncritical admirer of Hitler before meeting him, as the beginning of the following quotation illustrates, so his opinion is more convincing, and his opinion, as far as Hitler's ability as a speaker is concerned, was very positive (thus making it plausible that Speer too was genuinely impressed):

toynbee hitler

The Avoidable War: Pierre Laval & the politics of reality, 1935-1936 By J. Kenneth Brody, p. 215

http://books.google.com/books?id=0u-1Q-UoeQMC

 

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Sep 1st, 2009 at 05:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ted Welch:
"unprepossessing" - in still photos - but many have attested to his charisma and ability to convince sceptical generals that they could win.

great pix slice through the mask, or sneak under it, or catch the subject in those rare moments it has fallen off.

and without it hitler looks like a banal little man caught up in a delirium of his own making. nothing epic about him.

madness is a twist of faith, and these generals confused the two, possibly because they could shift blame later if (when) it goes pearshaped, by saying they 'followed orders'.

all you need is one madman at the top, add a battery of meme-cloners, an efficient propaganda machine, and voila!

conveniently ignoring how the foamer speaks for a part of everyman, and displacing their own shadow onto the scapegoats du jour.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 27th, 2009 at 11:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just too simplistic to dismiss him like this and to say the generals were just stupid. History is more complex and bad guys aren't just idiots. That's why the The Double-headed Eagle TV doc is a useful corrective to the usual cartoon versions of history; it shows why so many - not stupid - Germans supported Hitler.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Fri Aug 28th, 2009 at 06:44:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just too simplistic to dismiss him like this and to say the generals were just stupid

i doubt the generals were stupid, actually Ted, but i don't doubt they were as deluded as you can get to be, and they clearly saw what they wanted to see, projected on the psychotic screen/mirror he provided.

of course i'm being simplistic, it's just a blog comment!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 04:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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